The folks over at Fearless Revolution have made several iterative amendments to JFK’s 1964 Consumer Bill of Rights to update it for the modern age. [More]
When you buy a new cellphone you have to sign a contract where you give up your right to sue. You agree to what’s called, “mandatory binding arbitration.” This is a bad thing to give to an industry that has high levels of complaints about hidden fees and abusive anti-consumer practices. Because if their crummy customer service fails to remedy an issue, your last resort option is to participate in a kangaroo court system that is paid for out of fees paid by the cellphone companies themselves. So Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) have today introduced The Consumer Mobile Fairness Act that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in cellphone contracts. [More]
Many airlines have inserted “checked baggage limitations of liability” into their contracts which try to act like it’s not their fault if jewelry or gadgets somehow go missing during transit from your luggage. They’re bunkum. [More]
For decades, Hong Kong has attracted shoppers with its tax-free designer knock-offs, antiques of recent vintage, and just about any kind of electronic gear imaginable. Most shoppers are there because they actually want to buy something. But some are forced onto long shopping marches, and one tourist died of a heart attack recently after arguing with a tour guide after refusing to shop. [More]
Going from strip poles to iron bars in one night, a Consumerist reader says he got tossed in jail when he refused to give a strip club his thumbprint. Their ATM was broken so he had to pay his tab using a credit card cash advance. The club demanded a thumbprint and he refused, so cops that were already there threw him in jail. Was this legal? [More]
[it] would have the right to claim statutory damages of up to $2,500 “per act of circumvention.” People who jailbreak phones, might even be subject to criminal penalties of as long as five years, if they circumvented copyright for a financial gain.
The nation’s economic woes make debt collection a topic du jour, but while there are some good bits mixed into the Washington Post’s article, “When Debt Collectors Disrupt Dinner,” it probably should have been titled “What Debt Collectors Would Like You To Say And Do When They Call About The Credit Card.” Read it with a shaker of salt. Read on for the good, the bad, and the lazy reporting, plus what you should actually to protect and exercise your rights as a debtor…
Last month, several consumer groups sent President-elect Obama a letter detailing a pro-consumer agenda for the new administration and Congress. One of those suggestions, supported by an editorial in today’s New York Times, is reinstating the position of special assistant to the President on consumer affairs, also known as the consumer czar.
If the recent economic meltdown has a bright spot, it is the possibility that smart regulation may return. There will always be those who will cheat if they can, putting both consumers and the market at risk. It cannot function properly without regulation to prevent cheating and ensure consumers are getting a fair deal. But without a private right of action and attorney fees, consumer protection regulations are nearly worthless. A “private right of action” means…
Last week, Walmart sent out emails to its online music store customers letting them know that on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks. Unlike Yahoo, which did the right thing by offering free replacement downloads of unprotected songs when they killed their DRM program, Walmart simply brags about its new unlicensed model and tells you to burn your protected tracks to CD if you really want to listen to them in the future. Good job, Walmart, there goes another betrayed consumer into the welcoming arms of digital piracy. And another. And another…
In another step towards the impending demise of mandatory binding arbitration, a customer’s right to file a class-action lawsuit against AT&T Wireless was upheld by Washington Supreme Court yesterday.
Longtime Consumerist reader TBT read the fine print for a credit card she recently opened with Bank of America, and discovered that buried in pages 13 and 14 is a section that limits your right to request a chargeback to your home state or within 100 miles of your home address, and only for purchases over $50. He found this shocking, but, actually, this is a limitation provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you dislike it, here’s a great post of ours on writing effective letters to Congress.
Class Action Against Credit Card Companies Conspiring To Make Us All Accept Mandatory Arbitration Revived
Ross vs Bank of America is a class action suit…
Pre-Emption Doctrine Would Make FDA Responsible For All Drug Problems, Shield Big Pharma From Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson is waiting to hear whether or not a judge in Ohio will allow any lawsuits over its Ortho birth control patch to move forward, and the New York Times says lawyers on both sides think there’s a good chance he may find in the company’s favor based on the doctrine of pre-emption. The argument goes that it’s the FDA’s responsibility to monitor the safety and labeling of drugs that go to market, and therefore if something goes wrong, it’s the agency’s fault and not the pharmaceutical company’s.
Debtors have rights, and sometimes they get violated. The FTC released its annual Fair Debt Collection Practices Act report, part of which documents the number of complaints they get about debt collectors violating consumers rates. FTC received 70,951 DCPA violation complaints in 2007. Of them: